My Sister, My Friend

When I think of Chris, I think of the close relationship we had as children. Christie and I had two older brother, one six years older than Chris and one thirteen years older. With the gap in age between the two older brothers, Christie and I were known collectively as “the kids” by the rest of the family. Although I was about a year and a half younger than Christie, I was always quite tall for my age. People would often ask our parents if we were twins. We developed our own “language” that no one other than the two of us could understand. I’m told by my wife (who is a twin) that this is a common occurrence with twins.

When we were five or six years old, we went to our mother and told her we planned to get married to each other when we grew up. We were heartbroken when our mother told us that we could not marry each other! Then the fateful day came when the big yellow school bus pulled up and Christie, attired in the finest that the Sears Roebuck catalogue had to offer, confidently stepped onto the bus and was carried away to school. Mom and I had to go back to the house without Chris, because I just wasn’t old enough.

Chris was very articulate and was always on the Honor Roll, and belonged to the Honor Society in High School. She regularly attended Central Lutheran Church in Anchorage, and enojoyed the activities and fellowship at Luther League (a church sponsored youth group in the Lutheran church). She sang in the church choir and in the chorus at school, seemingly the only one in the family with singing skills.

When I was in Advanced Infantry Training in the U.S. Army at Fort Lewis Washington (and on my way to Vietnam), I got word on Sunday visitors day that my wife was at the visitors center to see me. I was incredulous because my wife was at home in Alaska and I knew on my $79 month salary in the Army that we could not afford to have her visit me. When I reached the visitors center, there was Christie waiting to see me! It seems that the Army only allowed your parents or wife to visit with trainees. Quickly assessing the situation, Chris simply told a little white lie and told them she was my wife! After a fraction of a second of disappointment upon discovering that my wife was not visiting, Christie and I had a great visit while I devoured a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken she brought with her. During our visit, poor baby Toni and her father sat in the blazing sun in the parking lot.

When I think of Chris, I think of the best big sister that a guy could ask for.

Written by Gordon Keith
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 16:36